It’s time to protect your paycheck

By DANA ERICKSON – Gazette Columnist

Take a moment to consider this scenario: starting tomorrow, you will no longer be receiving your paycheck.

Think it can’t happen to you? Think again. There is a three-in-10 chance that you will face being out of work for three months or more during your career due to a disabling illness or injury.

So, your paycheck has stopped. How will you continue to pay your mortgage or rent, buy groceries and pay your monthly bills?

If you answered that you’ll dip into savings or rely on the government, you may be in for a surprise. Instead, your answer should be disability income insurance. Here’s why.

Savings might not cut it. Most people overestimate what they have to cover their expenses if a disabling illness or injury kept them from earning a paycheck. According to a LIFE Foundation survey, half of working Americans say they couldn’t make it a month before financial difficulties would set in. Keep in mind that disabling illnesses or injuries often last for months or even years.

The government might not be there for you. Generally, most long-term disabilities are a result of an injury or illness that is not work-related and therefore wouldn’t qualify for state-based workers’ compensation programs.

And if you were hoping for Social Security disability benefits, know that about 65 percent of those who apply are initially denied, and those who are approved receive an average monthly benefit of just $1,065, which would leave you with an income barely above the poverty line.

That’s why it’s important to have disability income insurance. Think of it as insurance for your paycheck. It provides replacement income in case an illness or injury prevents you from working, and it helps you make ends meet until you’re able to return to work.

Take action

Your next step should be to find out if you have disability income coverage through work, and if so how much. Keep in mind that according to the Social Security Administration, 67 percent of workers in the private sector don’t have long-term disability income insurance. And short-term or partial coverage wouldn’t be enough if you were unable to work for an extended period of time.

Take a closer look at what your disability insurance needs are by using the free online disability insurance calculator that Thrivent Financial for Lutherans offers at

Once you have a sense of your need for disability income insurance, it’s important to speak with a financial representative who can help explain the various features of disability income insurance.

Dana Olson Erickson, ChFC, CASL, is a Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Stillwater. She can be reached at 651-439-7091.